I don’t think it was bitchy, but I will express the problems that we have run into when organizing these types of things…people’s definitions are not consistent. Some people will include themselves in categories they don’t belong. They will list themselves as a professional and they aren’t…and just the opposite, as a beginner and they are selling themselves short.
I don’t think it’s a bad idea to stick to competitions close to home, unless the reputation of the contest makes it worth the additional cost of travel. There are some that are definitely worth it.